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TradeStation Securities

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Category: Brokers

No matter which markets you trade—stocks, options, futures or forex—TradeStation offers a “complete trader’s solution” with all the tools you need to create, analyze, test and execute your trading ideas.

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Great Product But Better Options Out There
I used to love Tradestation for years and have been using it for quite a while but the data feed as well as the platform has gotten quite heavy. I prefer to use NinjaTrader for my execution now especially considering that Tradestation commissions are through the roof compared to others in the industry. In times of high volume the platform seems to be heavy and outdated especially since there is a rumor that they bundle their data which causes problems.

Their customer service is bar none and if you have any questions you can call them 24 hours.. that is one of the advantages of the platform. It is quite pricey at over $250 for a non brokerage account and over $100 if you have a brokerage but dont make any round trip trades. The order platform is extremely outdated to other companies such as NinjaTrader as well.

A decent platform but needs updating....

JJ

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Everything but the kitchen sink
And possibly that too if you look deep enough.

Their platform does all kinds of stuff; I could probably fumble around in it for another few years and still miss half the stuff you can do with it. Sometimes it seems like it actually does too much. It can be very bulky and cumbersome, at least in a mental way, and at least to me. After just focusing on the few things that I primarily do and not worrying about any of the other stuff it has gotten a lot easier but if you’re one of those people that like to know every little detail of what can be done on a platform buy an industrial size bottle of No-Doze, you’ll need it. I do still like the charts on TOS better though.

The thing that amazed me the most I guess is that for everything they put into their platform they didn’t put jack into a web based trading site. You can make a trade thru the website but it seems that’s about it.

Executions are good and their short list seems to be one of the better ones out there. Commissions are reasonable, especially if you normally trade in lots of under 500 shares.

You won’t be able to trade OTCs here, they don’t even show bid and ask prices for them. Kind of sucks but what can ya do.

I’ve read other reviews about crappy customer service. It’s not 24/7 like TD Ameritrade is but the times I’ve called with questions the wait has never been longer than a minute or so and the people I talked to were always polite and helpful. There have been a couple times however when the person I was talking to had to ask someone else how to find something on the platform or how to set something a certain way, which seems to speak to the fact that you can do so much with it nobody can figure it all out.

The mobile app is basic but layout is simple and easy to use.

There is a $100 platform fee per month and also $50 for the radar screen unless you trade 5000 shares in a calendar month. That seems very excessive to me considering there are so many other places one could go these days.

I’m getting more used to it every day but the transition from web based to platform based was somewhat hard. I don’t like that if I change to another computer in the middle of the day all the stuff I was watching on the 1st one isn’t on the 2nd one until I type in all the symbols again.

Overall it’s a good brokerage with a long short list but they could lose (or at least cut back) the monthly fees and work on a web based system in addition to the platform.

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Good for stocks not for other products
i have to say that tradestation is a great stock trading broker and ranks up there with the best but when trading options or other products i think they are far behind firms like TOS. for stocks i would highly recommend

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Mrbroadnet San Diego, Ca

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Immense functionality but several weaknesses
How heavy can it get?

I just signed on to a free Tradestation webinar - only to be taken through the rigmarole of "purchasing" it. Tradestation didn't charge my credit card $0 but it did everything else suited to a sale. (The webinar was about using the program, not about trading strategies.) That's the ponderous way it goes about its job.

It offers a huge range of functionality - options, futures, spot forex, integrated data strategies, backtesting - you name it. But you can't be sure it will deliver. More than one webinar presenter has, in my hearing, said he didn't want to demonstrate a point he's making for fear Tradestation would lock up or crash.

My installation required a complete deletion & reinstallation from scratch - a simple reinstal wasn't enough.

Getting a firewall to allow the program to work is a simple matter of whitelisting not far from 20 separate programs (in an hour-long phone call). And accessing the web site via the compulsory Internet Explorer is just as finicky firewall-wise.

Ergonomically too. Watching a video on the site, clicking in the mother browser window closes the daughter video window.

Help via the phone is good - if people reading from a manual is good, if you take the time to phone them (in US working hours), then wait for someone to come online - but all that takes time. There appears to be no way to get help by email, though if you know the right forum, you can get replies from Tradestation staff.

During a webinar, it was not possible to download documents offered by Tradestation staff because they were using a modified version of IE having no menus so no way of turning off the popup blocker.

There is help available via the F1 key, but it's the usual sort - programmer-oriented, not user-oriented - listing the features the programmers have included, not the tasks users want to do - like a saving a trade setup with scaling out and trailing stop. To get that info, you have to pick the nuggets out of an hour-long online webinar. As other platforms show, if the interface is well designed, anyone who has traded can probably work out much of it on their own.

A feature I find hard to like is the account reports it sends out as pdf files - for which selecting and copying has been turned off. That just makes proper record keeping difficult and error-prone.

If you need its mix of functionality, there are few rivals.

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Sets the Standard for Online Trading
TradeStation is probably the most robust, fully-featured and reliable of the available trading platforms. (Like Microsoft Office, it has more functions and features than the average human being can master, so the real challenge is honing in on the features most useful to your own trading style and strategy.)

I have always found their customer service to be polite, patient and helpful. (I have heard anecdotal evidence of other people who disagree, but my own experience has been uniformally positive.) I think that building a relationship with a capable and supportive account executive (in my case, Mitchell Field) has been instrumental in helping me resolve customer service issues.

TradeStation provides a ton of education resources and online events to help you develop platform mastery. I highly recommend them. Like any other high-stakes relationship, you (as a customers) have a responsibility to do your share of the work to make it successful, TradeStation is a challenging platform to master, but IMHO well worth the effort.

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customer service is very rude
i'll be closing my account with these guys. The customer service people are really rude. Also, the company seems to be geared towards nickle and diming. Always watch your activity for erroneous charges. I was offered free platform fees for joining. Guess what? they charge me the platform fee and I have to run through many hoops to get it removed. The company is a piece of sh*t.

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Great Software Platform and Competent Cheap Broker
I have used Tradestation for about 18 months, and I really like their software platform. I started with eTrade, spent several months with eTrade, but as soon as I went to Tradestation, I barely ever look at eTrade.

First about the software platform:

I tried think or swim, and couldn't figure it out, it was trying to be "too hip". But Tradestation is a conventional Windows application.

(Sorry Mac and Linux users, you'll need something like VMware Fusion to run it).

If you are familiar with Windows programs in general, Tradestation is easy to use. It has a wealth of indicators, flexible ability to arrange chart windows, ability to customize almost every setting.

Papertrading made easy:

You can run the software in simulation mode. Everything works just like real. All the skill you gain will transfer to your real trading when you start using real money.

You decide how much money to start with, and it tracks full order history, statistics, everything like as if it was a real trading account.

This mode is especially cool for testing of strategies without risking real money. And developing new add-ons for the platform.

Really Cool:

The big plus of tradestation is the ability to write code to describe your own indicators, and your own trading strategies, and then back test the strategies, and even have the platform totally automate your trading. This is very powerful, a very sharp two edged sword.

The strategies and indicators are written in a simple language called EasyLanguage. It is a lot like Basic with special extensions for stock trading.

The algorithms you write can be run against daily data, minute by minute data, even 6 months of tick-by-tick data. You decide.

Tradestation comes with a wealth of indicators and strategies, and you can examine the code for any of them. This can really help you develop your programming skills.

Programs can also be written for Tradestation that are protected, so others can load the program, but they can't see your code. Many third party addons are sold with this protection. They usually want to know your "network number", so they can lock your copy of their program to your copy of Tradestation.

As a broker:

Their commissions are cheap, just a $1 to trade 100 shares. Way better than eTrade!

I have only needed to call Tradestation maybe twice since I have this account. Once they didn't seem to reset my PDT margin properly, but a couple of phone calls, and 20 minutes on hold, and they found a manager to reset the numbers.

Usually when trading Timothy Sykes picks, I only trade things that are easy to borrow, I dont go through a lot of ritual to locate hard to borrow stuff. If I can short it with a click, great, if not, I look for some other stock to trade.... I've only called Tradestation once to short a hard to borrow stock, but within minutes they had me in shares of a hard to borrow stock that no one else in the Tim Alerts chatroom could find. The shares magically appeared in my position within the software platform.

Excellent Forums

There are excellent discussion forums covering all aspects of the software, and strategy development. There are lots of programs that you can download and add to your tradestation.

Drawbacks

Can't trade OTCBB or Pink Sheets stocks with Tradestation's interface. So I dont even try about half of Tims trades. I look over his OTCBB picks for learning, but I stick with NASDAQ, NASDA, NYSE, etc. You can do all possible technical analysis and scans and screens and news and everything else on OTCBB or Pink Sheets, just no actual trading. I am not sure if the simulation software can simulate trading them, I have never bothered since I can't actually let the strategy run in automated mode to do actual trading.

I believe it may be possible to phone in OTCBB trades to Tradestation, but again, I would rather do everything with a point and click, not bother with phone calls.

Debugging of the Easylanguage programs is very tedious and primitive. Basically the only debugging available is print statements to a log. Very circa 1983....

I have found occassional glitches in the software, but for general trading, I am very happy with it, I cant think of the last time a glitch affected my actual daily trading. Usually the glitches are fairly esoteric.

The platform is stable. i have maybe one crash every week or two, but usually that is on a day when my computer has been up for several days, and maybe I'm running a lot of other things at the same time.

While the backtesting is really cool to see how well a given algorithm could trade, there is no ability to replay market data to practice manual trading.

The backtesting can only test a single stock at a time. You can not run two different backtests at the same time. Combined with the inability to trade more than one stock with a given strategy on a chart, this makes it very tedious to test a strategy against a list of stocks. There is no way to combine the backtest results from a list of stocks to get overall profitability..... all that being said, there is a powerful macro library in addition to easylanguage. The macro library i think can simulate any manual menu selection you might make, and i think there is a third party library that might be able to handle running a series of backtests automatically.

The automated trading strategies can only handle trading a single stock per chart. Strategies are always attached to a particular chart, and the chart can contain multiple symbols and indicators, and the strategy can access any of them. But it can only trade on the first symbol in the chart. This makes it not possible to have a single instance of the strategy watching a basket of stocks. However, you can open multiple charts, one for each stock you want to track, and attach a strategy to each, and Tradestation will then automate the strategy in each of those charts. In this way, I have setup as many as 36 stocks automatically trading according to a strategy. Compare that to Tim's trading style of one trade at a time, and it is like "Crank!" compared to "Driving Miss Daisy".

More of my thoughts about Tradestation, examples of how I use TradeStation, and Tradestation Resources: http://www.bobsgear.com/display/stocks/Review+of+Tradestation+After+18+Months+of+Use

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Bobsgeardotcom Novato, CA

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An industry leader...
TradeStation has been instrumental in the development of my trading career. As a full-time e-mini day trader, I've relied on TradeStation's EasyLanguage and charting tools to help develop my trading strategies. I love the flexability and customization that TS offers. From an execution standpoint, I think they could improve their price matrix (DOM) and execution for e-mini traders. Also, the tick data still seems to be a little bundled, but not too bad. If you don't have a brokerage account with TS, they will charge quite a bit for the platform and data (usually in between $200-$300 per month). I hope to see them stay current and forward thinking...

Thanks!

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“Best for Frequent Traders”
In 2009 Barron's rated them “Best for Frequent Traders”, if Barron's likes them, I like them.

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